By: Ryan Zimmerman
Whiting, Ind. – Third time was the charm at Oil City Stadium as the MCL Minutemen (4-9) squared off against the Northwest Indiana Oilmen (9-4). The visitors got an early lead and added to it often throughout the night as they sent the hosts packing, picking up an impressive 11-2 win.
“This win feels pretty good,” manager Jack Murphy said. “To be able to watch these guys play to the best of their ability tonight. It’s all I really ask from them, and the results really showed.”
Though every Minuteman that took the field made their presence felt, nobody shined brighter than former Oilman Patrick Doran (North Carolina Central/Chicago, Ill.) He hit his second home run in as many days, sending one over the high wall in left field, and fell just a triple short of the cycle. He finished the day going 4-for-5 with three runs batted in, one walk, five runs scored, and eight total bases.
“It felt really good to hit that homer,” Doran said. “When I was taking batting practice, I noticed the ball was carrying to left [field]. I told myself that if I barreled a ball up to the left side, I need to let one rip. Fortunately, I got it, and I took advantage.”
For Doran, he was happy to put one over, quite literally, against his former team.
“This is unbelievable,” Doran continued. “It was a great win tonight. This team is heading in the right direction, and I think we’re really going to make some noise this year.”
To supplement Doran’s efforts, the Minutemen were anything but lacking for offensive contributions. Ryan Howe (Purdue/Mount Prospect, Ill.) tallied a three-hit day himself, lining a two-run double in the fourth inning and stealing one base. Lukas Broske (Lake Land College/West Bend, Wis.) chipped in an RBI single of his own to along with his four walks. Mike Bolton (Purdue/Calumet City, Ill.) registered his league-leading 11th stolen base, also scoring twice.
“We’ve had the same approach at the plate all season long,” Murphy said. “Yesterday we swung the bat well and didn’t catch any breaks, the way they hit today was no different. We found some good fortune, sent balls to the gaps, and the rest was history.”
As the bats provided run support, Jacob Frencl (Southeastern CC/Frankfort, Ill.) held the opposition in check. He kept the Oilmen lineup from doing any damage in his five-inning start, permitting two runs to score on six hits, striking out four. His outing earned him his first win of the season.
“I just wanted to attack every batter I faced,” Frencl said. “That’s been my mentality ever since I started pitching. If they were going to score, they’d have to earn it. I threw strikes, trusted my defense behind me, and did my part to help the team win.”
“Jake pitched a great game,” Murphy added. “He threw like the pitcher I thought I was getting when he joined the Minutemen. He was very sharp, just pounded the zone, and nothing fazed him. Good things usually happen when you throw like that.”
Once Frencl departed, another former Oilman, Norman Standish (South Suburban College/Highland, Ind.) picked up where the starter left off. He went four shutout innings in relief, striking out two en route to a save. Though the Oilmen got some hits against him, he came through when the Minutemen needed it most, stranding seven runners on base.
“He’s been doing well for us this summer,” Murphy said of his reliever. “Tonight’s outing was no exception. Glad to see that he was able to last as long as he did, he was loose and ready to go from the outset. He held more than his own out there and saved our bullpen, that was exactly what we needed.”
The Minutemen struck once in the first, third, sixth, and eighth innings, but it was their three-run fourth and four-run ninth that sealed the deal. In addition, their 12 hits marked the sixth double-digit output in that column.
“Everybody stayed locked in,” Murphy said. “Plain and simple, that’s all it was. Nobody took an at-bat off. It was a complete offensive performance.”
The victory improves MCL’s record to 4-9 on the 2020 campaign. They’ll look to make it two-in-a-row on Sunday as they travel to Lansing, Illinois to host the DuPage County Hounds at 6 p.m.
Tune in to see every pitch on the MCL Minutemen Broadcast Network. Ryan Zimmerman and Thomas Gorski will have the call.
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